Generics giant will add late stage Huntingdon’s drug to CNS portfolio

In a bid to strengthen its position in central nervous system R&D, one of its core therapeutic areas, generics giant Teva is set to acquire US-based biotech firm Auspex Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth $3.2 billion (£2.2 billion). Auspex specialises in neurological therapies, and the buyout comes just a few months after its new treatment for Huntington’s chorea, SD-809, passed Phase III trials.

SD-809 (deutetrabenazine) is a modified version of existing Huntington’s drug Xenazine (tetrabenazine) designed to be effective in smaller doses as it breaks down more slowly in the body. It works by inhibiting a transporter protein in the brain involved in regulating dopamine levels, and has been shown to reduce involuntary movements experienced by patients with Huntington’s disease. It is expected to be released in the US next year, and is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of other movement disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome.  

Teva hopes to add SD-809 to its portfolio of central nervous system drugs, along with several other therapies and candidates currently in development at Auspex.